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A week in training: The £65m skills booster


news This week: there's a £65m pot for boosting skills in science, manufacturing and engineering, managers show support for extending flexible working to all, learndirect launches an interactive game to boost literacy and numeracy, and staff show a lack of trust in their senior managers.

£65m skills boost for science, manufacturing and engineering
Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, has secured £65 million-worth of funding for companies in its sector to access for skills investment. The four key areas for investment include: leadership and management training, addressing technical skills gaps, increasing the number and quality of apprenticeship and adopting 'lean manufacturing' techniques to improve performance. Philip Whiteman, chief executive of Semta, said: “During a period of economic turbulence, one of the ways companies can invest in future success is to train staff... Using proven diagnostic tools, Semta can help employers start the journey towards improving company performance and sustaining this over the long term.” Employers who are interested in finding out more should contact Semta Customer Services on 0845 643 9001 or visit
Award winning training
The BBC College of Journalism, RBS Insurance, Reed Learning and Accenture were among the winners of this year's World of Learning Awards. Presented by comedian Marcus Brigstocke, the Birmingham event was attended by more than 450 learning and development professionals and showcased the very best organisations and individuals whose outstanding achievements have notably improved workplace productivity and performance. More information on the awards are at the World of Learning website. You will also find coverage of the World of Learning Conference and Exhibition on the Watercooler. The World of Learning 2009 will take place earlier next year - on 30 September - 1 October 2009 at the NEC, Birmingham.

Free interactive literacy and numeracy game
learndirect is encouraging adults to play computer games with their kids – and improve their maths and English skills at the same time – with the launch of its first interactive game, The Legula Adventure. The Legula Adventure combines maths and English based puzzles with the colour, adventure and excitement expected from any top kids’ interactive game. The game has been created as a three dimensional, virtual environment around which users can navigate. The aim of the game is to restore power and happiness back to the island of Legula. To do this, family members must work together to solve puzzles and complete island tasks. Play for free by logging onto

Employees distrust CEOs and senior managers
Half of employees don't believe that their CEOs and senior managers care about staff and 40% believe their seniors don't say what they mean, a survey of over 5,000 UK employees reveals.
More than a quarter of employees don’t think their CEO is honest and truthful or that they deliver on their promises. Senior managers fare even worse, with 30% of employees claiming that they don’t deliver on their promises and 29% saying that they think they are not truthful. The survey by Endaba, comes ahead of its Trust Conference, which takes place in central London on 28 January.

Managers support extension to flexible working
The Chartered Management Institute is calling on the government not to delay implementation of flexible working proposals. In a submission to the government's consultation on amending and extending the right to request flexible working, the Institute recommends that proposals go further by extending the 'right to request' to all employees, not just those with children up to the age of 16. It also calls for greater emphasis from Government about the benefits of flexible working. The Institute's submission is based on new research which shows that, despite the current economic climate, only 29% of managers support current the idea of delaying the government's proposals to extend flexible working, while 57% support flexible working for all. A full copy of the Institute's submission is available at

Skills in focus for leisure sector
The newly-launched National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure aims to train 85,000 people a year in the leisure sector. According to government research, currently a fifth of the sector’s 36,500 organisations report skills gaps, 79% of the industry lack good customer service skills and 64% of industry managers need better management and leadership skills. The skills academy will have nine regional hubs by 2010 and a national office. It plans to have a strong focus on online learning.

Learning assessment in the digital age
A new book from the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education aims to help tutors use digital cameras, MP3 players and mobile phones to carry out Assessment for Learning (NIACE).  Assessment for Learning: Digital Tools for Effective Practice is the latest title in NIACE's e-guidelines series and enables teachers from all sectors to make proper use of technology to enhance the whole learning experience. More information can be found at theNIACE website.


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